Head Gardener

From English Country Gardeners

Alternative Text

Due to the current head gardener retiring after 35 years, an excellent opportunity has become available for a passionate and driven horticulturist to manage and maintain a beautiful private garden in Surrey as the Head Gardener on a full time and permanent basis.  

The Head Gardener will report to the Head of Gardens and assist them in leading the team in a knowledgeable and hands-on manner in order that the gardens reach their full potential in line with the requirements of the owner. This is to be achieved through a combination of the annual maintenance programme and project implementation and completion where required.

The gardens are set within 500 acres of parkland the gardens have a long history and have been developed over the years to become the garden it is today. The garden consists of a large walled garden, kitchen garden, orangery containing a large collection of citrus trees, orchard, arboretum, temperate, arid, tropical display houses and service greenhouses, water features, large ornamental borders, seasonal bedding displays including pots, rose garden, and woodland garden.

The Successful applicant will manage the day-today running of the gardens, taking a hands-on approach. He / She will lead the garden team of 4 effectively and professionally, with energy and enthusiasm. This will include managing direct responsibility for performance management, objective setting and professional development. As well as integrating the garden team with the rest of the estate departments to ensure a holistic and cohesive working environment on the estate. He / She will also be responsible for the supervision of contractors who may operate within the garden areas, including preventative conservation measures where appropriate to ensure that aesthetic standards are not compromised. They will uphold all health & safety regulations, ensuring that all garden team members also comply. The role of garden duty manager will be on a rotational basis e.g. weekend activity, watering etc and the rota is to be set by the Head Gardener.

Key garden responsibilities will include Soil cultivation, bed preparation and weeding of all areas. This will include applying mulches and fertililisers where appropriate. Seed sowing, potting on and general plant care, including watering and nursery management. Planting, pruning and maintenance of a wide variety of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and bedding plants, as per the agreed planting schedule and layouts. Glasshouse management including watering and maintaining cleanliness.

Additional responsibilities of the role include maintaining paths and roads, including leaf blowing and power washing as well as maintaining garden structures including sheds, fences, walls and gates. Using and maintaining hand tools and basic garden machinery (leaf blowers, strimmers, lawnmowers) safely and effectively and ensuring that all machinery and equipment is maintained in good working order. This will include carrying out weekly or daily checks on equipment and machinery and making repairs where possible, reporting all machinery issues to the Head of Gardens and advising on potential new equipment where necessary. Using ladders, platforms and lifting equipment safely and effectively where needed. Maintaining water features, associated pumps and filtration systems and informing the Head of Gardens of any issues and when materials/supplies are needed to be replaced/ordered. Keeping all service areas, workshops, mess rooms and other areas used by the garden team clean, tidy and well organised.

Applicants should have the relevant horticultural qualifications (R.H.S. level 2 or equivalent) and previous professional gardening experience, ideally gained in a large private garden environment. The Head Gardener will work efficiently on an independent basis as well as have a team-playing mentality combined with good leadership skills. Attention to detail, and to the personal needs and requirements of the owner and guests in important as well as confident and positive attitude and the ability to engage with a diverse range of colleagues and clients, including VIPs. The ability to work flexibly and under pressure – sometimes with limited notice to cover periods of high intensity and confident in decision making. It is desirable but not essential for the successful applicant to have previous experience of floristry, cut flowers, house plants and orchids, previous experience with greenhouse cultivation and be Health and safety qualified.

The position is live in as the residential staff are required to make themselves available for visits and become part of the emergency and salvage team, responding to emergencies or incidents as directed. The Head Gardener would will assist with the estate management every other weekend. The vacancy comes with excellent benefits and the accommodation is a 2-bedroom house. Water and council tax are paid by the employer and other bills such as heating, and electricity are paid by the tenant. Benefits include 25 days holiday plus bank holidays, private healthcare and pension.

SALARY:        £30,000 plus accommodation
JOB No:          EC33015

If this Head Gardener vacancy is of interest, please apply or contact Sara Yassin on 01233 733510 or info@englishcountrygardeners.co.uk.

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Thank you for the interest you have shown in this Head Gardener vacancy.  Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications that we receive, it is not possible to respond to every one.  Therefore, unless you hear from us within the next 14 days, your application for this Head Gardener vacancy will have been unsuccessful.